In the NMCCA (Walker DP)

January 31, 2012

The NMCCA has issued a published opinion in United States v. Walker.  This case began its appellate life with a death penalty sentence.

In 2008, this court issued an opinion, United States v. Walker, 66 M.J. 721 (N.M.Ct.Crim.App. 2008), in which we affirmed one of the findings of guilty to violating Article 118, UCMJ, except for the language “with premeditation,” set aside the finding of guilty to the armed robbery specification, and affirmed the findings of guilty for the remaining charges and specifications.  We set aside the sentence and authorized the CA to hold a rehearing on the armed robbery and the excepted language as it pertained to the one murder specification, and on sentencing.  Id. at 757.  At the conclusion of the findings rehearing, a general court-martial composed of officer and enlisted members found the appellant guilty of armed robbery and premeditated murder.  The appellant was sentenced for all of his offenses to confinement for life, a dishonorable discharge, reduction to pay grade E-1, and a reprimand. 

I take this to be Life, not LWOP; which NMCCA has affirmed.

After carefully considering the record of trial and the parties‟ briefs, we conclude that this court erred in our 2008 opinion to the extent that we authorized a partial rehearing on the sole element of premeditation for the one Article 118, UCMJ, specification.  That portion of the proceeding violated the
appellant‟s constitutional protection against Double Jeopardy.  Accordingly, we set aside the finding of guilty from the rehearing as to Specification 1 under Charge III, and reaffirm our earlier finding of guilty of the lesser included offense of unpremeditated murder.  We find that the remaining findings, including the finding of guilty at the rehearing of armed robbery and the findings affirmed in our 2008 opinion,

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